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Elementary Science

Keeping Students Engaged

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Andrea Leal Andrea Leal 210 Points

As a future educator, what are some activities and different way to help keep my students involved in the lesson?

Naimah Urfi Naimah Urfi 1065 Points

Andrea, I think along with Katherine said about engaging and hands-on activities, students interpret and understand new information well when they can connect what they learn back to something they are familiar with in real life. In other words, creating meaningful activities and asking purposeful questions that help students think about the subject outside of school terms is a great tool when teaching. I also like KWL charts and flow maps that can help the teacher evaluate if the students have gotten the "big picture" out of the lesson.

Samantha Kalmick Samantha Kalmick 700 Points

Andrea, I am a future educator as well, I think that as long as the activities are hands on that the students will be engaged and involved in the lesson. One activity that I used in an assignment on living and nonliving organisms is having living and nonliving organisms from outside in a paper bag, such as gravel and grass. The students then come up and pull an item out of the bag and state if it is living or nonliving. The other students either put thumbs up if they agree or thumbs down if they disagree.

Eddy Martinez Eddy Martinez 1440 Points

Hello Andrea,

I am also a future educator who aims to teach in the elementary level. I am not placed in a science classroom, however, I did have the opportunity to teach a science class today. When I was creating my lesson plan for this class, I also had the same question. These are some strategies that I used in this lesson:
I made sure:
[ol]

  • that the content was age appropriate.

  • each part of the lesson had questions that would challenge the students to think critically.

  • each part of the lesson allowed the students to talk or discuss, either with me, in their group, or at least with a shoulder/elbow partner.

  • that I used visuals such as, pictures and examples.

  • at least two parts of my lesson plan allowed the students to move around.

  • that the students had a good hands-on activity.

  • [/ol]
    I hope that this can help you when you begin creating your own lesson plan.

    An Vu An Vu 370 Points

    Using the 5E model of lesson planning is actually a good way to start. If you're looking specifically into things that keep them engaged for the whole period, then I suggest implementing STEM into your classroom. Here are a few examples of STEM activities for Elementary children: http://www.teachjunkie.com/sciences/stem-challenges/

    Angel Peterson Angel Peterson 2370 Points

    A great way to keep students involved is using phenomenon based lessons. When students observe or experience a phenomenon (no matter how big or small), they then become invested in solving the problem for themselves. This often leads to hands on explorations. The best way for me to ensure I am doing phenomenon based lessons justice, I use the 5 E model: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. Engage: This is the attention getter and hooks the students' attention. Explore: This is where the teacher allows the students to gather and collect information on their own. This could be guided or open. The teacher should be hands off. Explain: This can be done in a couple ways. The most common way is where the teacher presents/shares information to help students better understand the concept and/or clear up an misconceptions. Or explain could be students learning from each other's discoveries and their conclusions. Elaborate: This is way students take the information they just learned and apply it a new way. Evaluate: This is to ensure students met the objectives of the lesson are met. Using the phenomena based lessons with the 5 E model, teachers facilitate learning while students are discovering on their own how to solve problems. They partake in the process of a real science process and it shows the application of subjects first hand. Here is an article on phenomena based lessons: https://www.nextgenscience.org/sites/default/files/Using%20Phenomena%20in%20NGSS.pdf

    Megan Bradburn Megan Bradburn 515 Points

    Andrea, As a pre-service teacher, I do not have a ton of experience under my belt, but what I have noticed with the second graders I am with is that when they are moving, they are engaged. They LOVE activities that keep them moving. I am not in a science class, but when I did have an opportunity to teach science, I was able to keep the students moving during most of the lesson, which in turn, kept them engaged. They love STATIONS! In my math classroom, we use stations to re-teach and expand their knowledge of things we have already gone over. I believe this could also be used in a science classroom! Games that let the students explore and movement are the keys to engagement in my classroom. Hope this helps! Megan Bradburn

    Dakota Dix Dakota Dix 2500 Points

    I am currently a future educator myself, and will begin my student teaching after this summer.  Through my field experiences so far and my education at the University of Northern Iowa, I have learned a lot of great ways to keep students involved in lessons.  The first thing I would suggest is offering breaks as often as possible.  This is especially crucial for younger grades because it can be hard for younger studnets to sit still for longer periods of time.  Giving students the opportunity to get up and move a little bit will help them stay engaged in your lesson.  Another thing that I have found to work very well is involving students in lessons.  A good example of this would be having the students come up the board and to answer a question instead of staying at their desk.  This is another great way to incorportate movement into your lessons, and students usually love coming up to the board to solve problems.  Group work is another great way to get students invovled during lessons.  If there are different ranges of learners, you can use selective pairing to give students who might be struggling to understand the material more opportunities to be taught by students who are really understanding the material.  Lastly, give your students choice and say in the lessons when appropriate.  For instance, while working with my middle school students, we allowed them to either type things out or physically write things out.  Letting students know that you care about what they want, will help keep students invovled in your lessons.

    Kaleigh Steele Kaleigh Steele 180 Points

    I defintitely think to keep students engaged in a science lesson you must make the learning interactive so that students can experiment with materials and learn for themselves. Also allow this to be a discussion time so that they can share their findings with their classmates and build on other's ideas. To make sure every student gets a chance to be involved, maybe assign each student a job before they get started so that there's not one student doing all the work while the rest of the group watches. And as always, walk around the classroom to answer any student questions and provide them with questions to think about while they work on their activities so you can direct their thinking to deeper questions. Also if time allows, in addition to the direct instruction of how the experiment should go, give them time to freely try different things that aren't planned so they can explore their own thinking.

    Alejandra Corona Alejandra Corona 210 Points

    To keep students involved during lessons, the lessons have to be intresting. Learning what your students are interest on may give you ideas on how to incorporate their interests in science activities. For example, if your students like cooking or baking you can incorporate baking or cooking when teaching physical and chemical properties. Something we can also keep in mind is the learning style of the students. Incorporating activities for the diferent learning styles of your students can also help them. For example, showing educational videos for visual learners. Creating hands on activities can also keep student on task and ready to learn. 

    Sac Nicte Garza Sac Nicte Garza 225 Points

    I think that a good way to keep students interested in the topic is by giving them opportuinities to experience the activities. Hands on activities are really good to keep the students engaged. It also help to have students in groups this way children are able to interact with other students and learn from classmates. it is also important to always have a backup plan in case something happens this way students will not loose learning time. Organization and a 5E lesson plan is key to succeed and keep students engagged in the lesson.

    Janette Perez Janette Perez 55 Points

    Hello Andrea! 

    I'm also a future educator, and one of my biggest goals is to make every part of my classroom and lessons fun! Thank you for bringing up the question....I've learned that it is very helpful to "study" your students too soon at the begining of the year. You'll learn that each of your students is very deifferent than the other when it comes to learning. After observing and collecting each of their needs, you'll be able to combine different "strategies" and techniques to create lessons that is inclusive to all of your students and that them involved as well as engaged. 

    Annika Krieg Annika Krieg 80 Points

    Hi Andrea!

    I am a future educator as well and I have learned that hands-on activities will help students stay on task, focused, and involved in the lesson because students learn best from doing rather than seeing or observing. Along with that, it's also important to create/incorporate the space for students to make personal connections to the various topics being discussed because they are more likely to remember and value that information. Ask yourself, "Why is this information relevant to these students?" Why should they care? How can they apply this information to their future lives?

    There are countless fun, engaging, and informative activities and experiments out there to keep students interested in learning. A few general ways to provide this active learning atmosphere would be giving students various leadership roles in the classroom to encourage responsibility, allow them to engage and take part in making the classroom rules, and creating a constructivism activity which allows students to create, innovate, and problem-solve on their own. These pieces of advice let the students take learning into their own hands where they can be engineers and connect to the subject on a more personal level.

    Alyssa Perez Alyssa Perez 3030 Points

    To help keep students involved and engage, you should have them do hands-on activities. Students need to be able to explore the world around them and discover new ideas and answers to questions. Having students work together can also help with engagement, working with classmates can be fun!

    Brooke Edwards Brooke Edwards 463 Points

    Hey Andrea!

    This is a great question, as engaging your students is super important. I think one of the best ways to keey students involved within a lesson is to make it personal. Allow your students to be able to relate to the lesson and draw conclusions from it. Having activities that are hands on are also very beneficial.

    Hope this helps!

    Brooke

    Macie Ault Macie Ault 3370 Points

    I think there are several ways to make sure to keep all students engaged and invloved in all lessons. One thing that I always try and do is relate the lesson to my students in some way. If the students can relate to it they will want to be more involved and therefore be more engaged throughout the lesson. I also try and make lessons fun to grab all my students attention. This can be done in several ways; games, vidoes, activities, experiments. I also want to make sure that each and every student is involved I can do this by making sure that I am including all students, and makes sure that I have something for each student to do. In a game or activity I can make sure that each student has a job or a turn. When putting together experiments depending if the experiements can be done in groups I can assign each person a job. Keeping students engaged and involved in elementary can be difficult especailly if students are leaving the room at different times for different things. Good luck, and I hope these ideas help!

    Brittany Hammes Brittany Hammes 2665 Points

    Hello! I am currently studying Elementary Education and our professors have given us many different ways to keep students engaged in lessons. First off, not all students will learn or be engaged in the same ways, so it is important to teach in multiple different ways to receive the highest amount of engagement possible. Hands-on activities are especially useful so students can get out of their seats, have something in their hands, and learn from experimenting. It is also important to pay attention to what your class seems to be most interested in. You can't have fun 100% of the time, but focusing on your students' interests and incorporating them as much as possible will help with engagement. Group work is also a great way to keep students engaged, since some students do not like to speak individually and can engage in more dialogue with their peers. I hope this helps! 

    Brooke Edwards Brooke Edwards 463 Points

    Lorena Chavez Lorena Chavez 2155 Points

    I agree with a fellow forum replier. If the lesson is hands-on and purposeful, students will be engaged and stay that way. In my first semester of science education, I was concerned with gaining and keeping my students' attention. But I soon realized that if the lesson is inquiry-based, they want to be involved every step of the way. 

    Abby Staebell Abby Staebell 50 Points

    Andrea,
     
    I am also a preservice teacher! In many of my classes and field experiences, we have discussed your question. The best advice I have is to make sure that you are making connections to the students. If they do not see how it connects to them, you cannot expect them to automatically relate the material to their lives. When students can see how something directly relates to them, they are more likely to engage themselves in the lesson. The instruction for the student should be active and engaging. Try to limit the amount of time you are strictly lecturing to the students. Another suggestion is to chunk the class up into different groupings. This also helps get student up and out of their seats. You could start as a whole group, break up into small groups, and finish back as a big group. Lastly for younger students, teachers should consider setting time aside for the students to regroup when they are getting off task with little brain breaks.
     
    Abby Staebell 

    Pre-service Teacher

    r

    Bethany O'Clair Bethany O'Clair 70 Points

    Hi Andrea!

    I think at the elementary level hands-on apporaches are the best ways to keep students engaged! Pinterest if full of TONS of resources for science activities. Have you considered trying a constructivism approach? Have the students come up with their own ideas about a given topic and put them to the test! The most important thing to remember when keeping students engaged is to prompt them with "Check for Understandings." This ensures that students are actually learning the material through the activities they are pursuing. My last piece of advice for you is to appear engaged yourself! We have discussed this frequently in my Science Methods course. If the teacher appears to be uninterested in a topic it is likely that the students will do the same. So, even if it is your 20th time doing an egg drop experiment, be just as enthusiatic as your first!

    Best regards,

    Bethany O'Clair

    Preservice Teacher

    Wartburg College

    Larissa Colon Larissa Colon 5655 Points

    Hi Andrea!

    In my courses my professors have always talked about a number of different ways to keep students engaged in a lesson. To give a specific example, in my teaching science course we have discussed 5E lesson plans. This a model for inquiry-based learning were the students are driving the lesson and the teacher is guiding them through. What I like about this model is that the students can be given an activity and they discover for themselves the concepts they are learning in the lesson. I think this is a great way to keep students engaged since they are learning and thinking of ideas before reading it in a textbook. Then of course there is always projects, hands-on activities, and even technology that can be used to keep a student’s interest. I know I will be trying some of these ideas myself once I have my own classroom.

    I hope this helps you and gives you some ideas to use!        

     

    Arianna Knutson Arianna Knutson 2610 Points

    Hello. I am a student studying to become a teaching in the near future. I am finishing up my final semester of college and am in my science methods course here at University of Northern Iowa. I have learned a lot about ways to keep students engaged in lesson and activities during the school day. Teachers need to make sure they are teaching content that is age appropriate. Also, if teachers build off of prior knowledge and teach students things that they are interested in they will be more attentive to listen and engage in the activity. Lessons and activities should be hands-on and include a short amount of lecture time (especially in the lower grades as their attention span is short). Another item is to make sure you always set expectations for students during learning so they know what is expected from them. Lastly, being a teacher you need to have a lot of energy and act excited about what you are teaching. If you're excited and put the energy into planning and teaching, your students will follow and be engaged and excited as well!

    I hope this helps, good luck :)

    Madyson Walker Madyson Walker 3195 Points

    Hello! I am a pre-service teacher, studying at the University of Northern Iowa! During many of my classes we talk extensively about ways to keep our students involved and engaged. I also believe that these two things (engagement and involvement) go hand-in-hand. What many people replied about hands-on activities is extremely true. When students are actively involved in a lesson, they are typically always engaged in the lesson, as well. Along with hands-on activities, it is important to consider the students' likes and interests. If you can incorporate these within the lesson, it will add another layer to possibly catch the interest of the students. If your students like to sing or rap, you could assign a project were they get to come up with a song or rap about the material you are covering. If they like to perform in plays you could have them write a play or skit about the material. The possibilities are endless! Good luck and I hope this helps!

    -Madyson Walker

     Andrea Hesse 70 Points

    I think it is very important to know that your students will need to have breaks throughout the class time. Brain breaks are a great way to get students refocused if they are starting to space off during a lesson. Even a short 1 minute break can do wonders when getting students to bring their thoughts back to learning. A simple video or short activity will do a lot!

     

    Andrea

    Elementary Education

    Wartburg College

    Class of 2020

    Brennen Doebel Brennen Doebel 80 Points

    Hello I am a pre-service teacher at Wartburg College, this is a topic that I already have some expereicne with in the many classrooms that I have done field experience with. One of best topic areas to include activites is STEM (science, technology, engieering, and mathematics) by doing this you give the kids a chance to do hands on activities together incorporating all of these disciplines. For an example, an activity that I have gave students that I had success with was to put them into groups of 3-5 and give them a set number of matierals and a time limit to build a certain structure. Jelly beans, straws, tape, toothpics are just some items that cwork very well with this type of acitvity.

     

    Brennen Doebel 

    Pre-service teacher

    Wartburg College '20

    Kennedy Kraus Kennedy Kraus 2515 Points

    Andrea, I am a student at the University of Northern Iowa, and currently in a Science Methods course. We have been working a lot with presenting the students with different phenomena to keep them engaged. It is great for students to see the different phenomenon and work with the class to figure out how, or why it happens. This is an excellent thing to use in the class because there are many different phenomenas that can be presented to the students, and they are all things that will help explain the world to the students. This is great for the students to experience the phenomenon, and work to figure out how it works, or why it happens. Also, by using the 5E method of teaching science (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate) the students are always working on a certain part and are engaged all throughout. 

    Alex Sudtelgte Alex Sudtelgte 2175 Points

    Hi Andrea,

    In my classes at the University of Northern Iowa we are discussing this right now! It depends on the age of your students, but one thing that will always help students stay involved is to take brain breaks every once in a while so students do not get overwhelmed or distracted by what they should be doing. In addition to brain breaks, students who are active in their learning will pay attention better. By allowing students to get up and work in groups, or come to the board they will be more involved and engaged. There is a lesson plan called the 5E lesson plan (engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate) that is keeps students involved in their learning. 

    Annika Amundson Annika Amundson 2645 Points

    Hi Andrea! My name is Annika Amundson and I am a Senior at the University of Northern Iowa! I am currently in a science methods course and would love to tell you about my ideas to keep students involved. One way to keep students involved is making sure your lessons use a phenomenon. In class we created mini units that we could possibly use in future classrooms, and making sure they all revolved around a phenomenon was really important! When students are working with a phenomenon (no matter how big or small), they then become invested in solving the problem for themselves. This often leads to hands on explorations. Also using the 5 E model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate) is a great way to keep your lessons on track and well suited for the students! Below is a link to a website with a bunch of different phenomenons you could possibly use that I'm sure the students would love to explore!

    https://www.ngssphenomena.com/

    Megann Kinseth Megann Kinseth 80 Points

    Hello Andrea, 

    My name is Megann Kinseth and I am a pre-service teacher at Wartburg Collge in Waverly, IA. I am an Elementary Education major with endorsements in reading and special education. There are a few simple ways to help get your students involved in the classroom. First, I am a big believer in Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. I would create lessons that will help students learn in a variety of ways whether that is auditory, visual, physical, nature, social, spacial and more. This will allow students to understand the information in an interactive way that makes sense for them. I also love using strategies for Brain Based learning, this concept helps teach content based on how the brain learns and one of the ways is movement. I would create lessons that allow students to get up and move around in the classroom and have hands on activities or experiments. I would also allow students the power of choice within reason. When students have the opportunity to choose what they want to learn they take on a sense of ownership for their learning and it can be very motivational for students. I hope this post helped!

     

    Megann Kinseth 

    Pre-service Teacher

    Reading & Special Education

    Wartburg '19

    Stephanie Sterbenz Stephanie Sterbenz 1485 Points

    Hello Andrea,

    I am also a future educator and this is a question ask myself often when creating lesson plans for my classes. I think what I have found so far if you need to be sure your activites are age apropriate or maybe a little above their age level. You dont want to give them an activity that they dont need to think about because they arleady have the knowledge. Secondly make sure your activity is hands on kids have a very short attention span but if you give them something to activley use for the activity I think they will stay more engaged. Also the 5 E lesson plan is a huge thing when creating lessons, you want to make sure you get them engaged and excited right away when you start your lesson or activity. When planning though make sure you arent creating lessons that are too long for your students to stay foucused. a good way to do that is to split up your 5E lesson plan in to a whole weeks lesson, you have your activity and in class you just do one E a day. So the first day you would get them excited about the lesson. The second day you would let them explore and maybe you woud also do your teaching that day the explain phase. Then you could move on to the elaborate phase and also the evaluate phase. 

    I hope you find this helpful

    Aaron Grinstead Aaron Grinstead 1965 Points

    A guest speaker in my Science Method's class talked about how the act of play in the classroom is a great way to help introduce a topic. What I mean by this is that you can have the student play with stations that push them to think critically about whatever lesson you are on. The great thing about this is that for the most part, the students don't realize that they are learning and just think that they are playing, thus you don't have to worry about keeping them engaged. Using this as your backbone in your lesson will give your students a way to test out their knowledge in a fun and creative way.

    Jamie Winterbotham Jamie Winterbotham 908 Points

    Being enrolled in my teaching methods courses has taught me a lot about how to deliver instruction and how to keep students engaged while the teaching is happening. Last semester I took a science methods class for early childhood educators that talked a great deal about how to keep students engaged during the learning process. It's crucial for students to get hands on learning experiences in order for them to become better engaged with the content. Something that I would implement in my science teaching is to try to start each lesson with an inquiry based or phenomenon approach to help students think about the science topic. By using the inquiry based approach, teachers are able to get their students interest about the topic and allow them to start thinking critically about the science topic that is being taught. 

    Alexandria Brubaker Alexandria Brubaker 1155 Points

    Hello!

    I am a future educator. I am entering my final semester in my Early Childhood Ecucaiton cohort. I know students can lose interest easily, but with the right tools, I belive that students can stay engaged and learn a lot while learning. I was recently in a science methods course. We talked about the use of phenomena and how by using this concept, it could keep students engaged. The Science and Engineering Practices are also a great tool to use to incorporate many different levels in sciecne instruction. hands-on acitivities are also a great way to keep students engaged. Young students need to be constanty doing something to stimulate their brains. Connecting concepts and materials to student's interests will also help keep them engaged in the material. 

     

    I hope this helps!

    Alicia Salazar Alicia Salazar 1174 Points

    There are many ways to get students engaged in a classroom. Creating activities that are meaningful and purposeful allow students to connect outside of school. Students may learn best with hands-on activities that connect to the real world. Students will recognize what they do in the classroom relates to everyday life. You could also turn your lesson into a game that is more engaging and fun for the students. Planning fun experiments, especially in a science classroom, will allow the students to remain engaged because children love to play with their hands. You may want to choose a simple experiment where students can work on their own or with a partner. 

    Jazmin Elizondo Jazmin Elizondo 180 Points

    Hi Andrea, 

    I was recently reviewing the NSTA Position Statement for Elementary School Science and there was some recommendations under the teacher preparation section that may be helpful. One of the recommendations was to counter pre-existing anxiety and attitudes about science by providing opportunities for students to be hands-on. I feel like when students are included with their learning, they are mroe focused and proactive. Keeping lectures and notes short can also keep students engaged with the lesson.

    Jazmin Elizondo 

    Diana Espinosa Diana Espinosa 240 Points

    Andrea, one thing that might be helpful in keeping students actively participating in a science lesson is to make your students feel like they are actual scientsists during labs and by doing so the children are focused at the task at hand and ask questions like a real scientist would.

    Gabriela Gomez Gabriela Gomez 270 Points

    In order to keep sudents involved in a lesson, I think you should first think about the different ways students learn. It is a good idea to always have different activities that include hands on activities or visual learning activities. Also you can involve movements such as clapping and finger snapping to keep them engaged. 

    Madison Pottebaum Madison Pottebaum 1750 Points

    Thank you to everyone that commented! I love a lot of these ideas, and as a future educator, I'm glad to get some insight and ideas from current, past, and future teachers!

    Tessler Baird Tessler Baird 2130 Points

    I am also a future teacher and I have learned a couple of ways to keep students involved in a lesson you are teaching them. When I am introducing a new science concept, I try to create the first lesson as engaging as possible to pull the students in and get them interested right away. For example, when I was teaching seed dispersal by animals, I gave each student a bag and they wore socks over their shoes to see what stuck to their socks. The students were very engaged and curious about the seeds they found as well as the seeds that stuck to their socks. This engaging activity allowed for my students to begin to think about questions they may have or make connections between how animals are able to disperse seeds. When it comes to different activities, be sure to use different types of resources such as videos, pictures, websites, or books that students can use while completing the activity because not all students learn the same, so differentiating your activities can really benefit each student as well as yourself! Also, relating the activity to their life in some way can really help keep the students engaged and interested in the content that you are teaching them. 

    Emily Lamaze Emily Lamaze 805 Points

    Hey Andrea, I am also a future educator and have that same question.  Through my time in science methods and science practicum I have learned about the 5E lesson plan, which has many opportunities for hands on minds on work.  

    Autumn Miller Autumn Miller 580 Points

    I think that students get more engaged with hands-on activities or even games. They have virtual lessons that take you on a virtual field trip. Also, there are a lot of science games out there that teach students about science in a fun and interactive way! 

    Justen Hug Justen Hug 505 Points

    In regards to science, I believe some activities or ways to keep the students engaged is to provide an opportunity for the students to take ownership of the lesson. What I mean by that is, let them build, analyze, have freedom to accomplish an objective in any given lesson in an experimential format so they can stay engaged. If you correlate an experiment to modern pop culture or a subject matter that specifically pertains to their interests, that will also keep their focus and dedication of the said lesson.

    Katherine Nguyen Katherine Nguyen 695 Points

    Hi Andrea! I am also going to be a future educator. Some activities or ways to keep your students involved in the lesson is to have engaging, hands-on activities. These activities could also be partner or group work where they learn to collaborate and share ideas. Another one could be, have the students write down their reflection of the lesson or experiment. Then you could have them share with their peers or as a class. Good luck to you!

    Alondra Hernandez Alondra Hernandez 795 Points

    Hi Katherine! I liked your contribution in ways to keep students involved in the lesson. I liked how you included reflecting because that is a very important skill that students should be exposed to and practice throughout school and their lives. Having students reflect on what they learned can help teacher know if students learned and how they will apply it to their everyday life. I also liked how you mentioned sharing their reflection/thoughts with their peers. Students putting what they learned into their own words help them remember and understand better and can also help others peers understand better. Students stay engaged when they discover on their own and understand through their own language and reflection can help teachers accomplish engagement.

    Taylor Hiatt Taylor Hiatt 355 Points

    I see all the advice on hands on activities. As a future educator I'm eager to learn more activities for my kids to do and to make my classroom an exciting learning environment.

    Miriam Luna Miriam Luna 495 Points

    Hello, I am a student teacher in a second grade class. From my observations and what I have seen in many classrooms, the way to engage students is by using hands-on activities, students really like lessons where they use manipulatives or even play games. Having engaging activities are great too. For example taking them outdoors when learning about shadows, the weather, living and non-living objects, and more. Showing interactive videos also work well. I have also noticed that having KWL charts or even anchor charts helps them become more engaged in a lesson, they are even helpful for students when they are doing their assignments.

    Adrene Henninger Adrene Henninger 700 Points

    Hello Andrea, I am a future teacher as well. As I have been in the classrooms doing my student teaching and observing. I have noticed that when students are just repeating what teachers says, they seem disengaged and have a hard time retaining the content. I have seen when students have more hands on experience they stay engaged and do better at retaining the content. Allowing the students to participate in a lesson helps the students become part of the lesson. I noticed that students start taking ownership of the content. A wise professor once told me, "If the teacher is doing all the talking the teacher is doing all the thinking." Hands-on activities helps students engage critical thinking.

    Claire Schroeder Claire Schroeder 170 Points

    Adrene,

    I think incorporating hands-on activities is a great way to keep students engaged. However, how would you approach the situation if the hands-on activity prompted students to get off topic and be distracted? What if the hands-on activity was doing more bad than good? What would your next approach be to make sure students are learning, but also staying in engaged?

    Thanks,

    Claire Schroeder

    Pre-Service Teacher

    Wartburg College 

    Kaitlin Schlegel Katie Schlegel 2865 Points

    I am so excited to see that future teachers are beginning to understand the importance of keeping students engaged! As I have read the posts above me, I agree with all of the things they are saying so I will try not to repeat them. First of all, teaching science used to be that students read from a textbook and they did an investigation with a finite result. All students were being asked to do was to regurgitate information that they might not have even understood. That is why I think that using different types of inquiry is important to a classroom. It moves beyond the idea of just a hands-on lesson, because even a "hands-on" lesson may not be meaningful to the students. Teachers should pose a question or a phenomenon and then students should be able to construct their own knowledge and build their own conclusions based on their evidence. There are several types of inquiry which can be explained in this cool graphic.
    If you need some ideas for phenomena here is one good resource: ngssphenomena.com
    My last piece of advice would be to make your lessons meaningful, not fun. If you make them meaningful your students will be engaged and they will learn a lot more than if they are just fun.

    Audrey Klunenberg Audrey Klunenberg 2900 Points

    I really love this visual for the different levels of inquiry within the science classroom! I'm an undergraduate student studying both art education and elementary education at the University of Northern Iowa, and I love to see connections between my two majors. One thing that we've learned about in art education is the importance of "big ideas". Big ideas are broader subjects such as persona, good and evil that students can use to investigate different aspects of their own life (which makes them highly motivating). I think framing investigations and disciplinary core ideas into questions that directly affect students' lives can aid in improving motivation/engagement. 

    Lizzie Walsh Mary Walsh 3100 Points

    I really like this visual above about the different stages of inquiry. It not only explains the different levels of inquiry but it also provides a visual explantion. I also agree that students need to have a meaningful learning experience in order to be engaged. Yes, a science lesson should be fun, but it should also be meaningful. Meaningful to me means that students are motivated, thinking deeply, and constructing their own evidence. Inquiry-based lessons are a great way to incorprate meaningful learning expriences into the classroom. When students are engaged in a inquiry based lesson, they are getting to take ownership of their learning. This motivates them and will help get them engaged in the lesson. 

    Colleen Hines Colleen Hines 925 Points

    In my experience, I have noticed that incorporating the students' interests as much as possible is important to keeping students engaged and involved. Some of the main things that I keep in mind are:

    - Are the activities/experiments developmentally appropriate for my students?

    - Are the students engaging in an activity that is hands-on, visual, or that gets them up and moving?

    - Do the students find the content interesting? (If not, how can I relate the content to meet the interests of my class?)

    - Do students have the opportunity to collaborate and communicate with their peers?

    - Is the activitiy providing enough challenge for my students without causing too much frustration?

    Tapping into the interests and needs of your specific students will increase classroom involvement and motivation. Try to relate content to your students' lives, and draw connections to real-life scenarios when possible. When possible, offer students choices or make assignments more open-ended. Providing them with choice and allowing them to take responsibility in their learning communicates that you truly care about their education. Additionally, inquiry learning is incredibly effective and engaging; offering students the opportunity to explore and investigate real-world scenarios will increase involvement in the classroom.

    Brooklyn Forsgren Brooklyn Forsgren 180 Points

    In today's society, technology is everywhere and ever-changing. I think using fun science websites/ apps would be a great way to keep students engaged in the lesson. This provides a great visual and hands-on activities for the students to do that tie in with your topic. The internet has a wide variety of fun teacher resources for you to use. Through my field experience, I have observed that young students (and older students) love every opportunity to use technology in the classroom. 

    Ana Jimenez Ana Jimenez 1361 Points

    Hello, just like the last posts they are right you need to have activities that students can engage on the activity. Also, having them have activities that is hands on I believe that doing that it can help students think more about the subject, and have more knowlege. 

    Molly Karr Molly Karr 2985 Points

    Hello Andrea.

    This question struck my intrest because of the fact of it being useful to me as well, becoming a teaching in the near future. The things I have learned within my science methods course that keep students interests are a few ideas;

    -Be sure the student have some prior knowledge on what they are working with.

    -Be sure that the activity or content is age appropriate.

    -Be sure your students have some base knowledge on it, i.e; vocabulary.

    -Hands on activities seem to hold youngens interests more so.

    -YOU need to show excitement for what your teaching.

    Goodluck, I hope this helps.

    Sydney Luu Sydney Luu 1275 Points

    Hi, Andrea! Student engagement is a very important part of lesson planning and I think one of the best ways is to play on student schema. Use what the students already know and build on that so they can learn about the world in their own ways. By doing this you can also begin to integrate different subject areas or draw connections between topics, which helps with the growth of higher order thinking skills. I think it would be best to start lessons off with a "big" or "broad" idea and leading the students to a smaller, more specific, topic by guiding their discussions towards that as a goal. 

    Kayla Cavazos Kayla Cavazos 765 Points

    I love your answer of building on student schema and integrating different subjects. Science is a great connector subject that can easily be integrated into Math, Language Arts, Art, etc. I agree that not only will doing this be benefical to learning but can also help make abstract concepts into concrete applications. 

    Madison Steele Madison Steele 2380 Points

    Hi Andrea!

    My name is Madie Steele and I am a student at the University of Northern Iowa. I am in a science method course right now and we have discussed some ways we can help keep our students engaged throughout our science lessons. One way is to have hands-on activities! For example, you could have your students plan and conduct their own investigations where they are making observations and analyzing their own data they collected. Another idea is to have group work with your students throughout your lessons which will allow them to communicate and justify why they believe what they do and how they came to their answer. This will help students to connect with their classmates and give you, as the teacher, some time to observe what your students know so you aren't talking throughout the whole lesson. Once the students start to feel engaged in your lessons they will focus better and have a more meaningful experience which is what we want to aim for.

    I hope these ideas help!

    Madie 

    Madison Rost Madison Rost 3140 Points

    Hello my name is Madison Rost, I am a student at the University of Northern Iowa. I am in a science methods course right now and we have discussed some way in order to keep students engages, I know children love experiment and hands on activities something they are able to do and to show off what they know and have learned. We went downstairs of our buidling and we were able to work with some hand on activities. I build a musical instrument and I had a lot of fun doing so. It was made out of popcicle sticks, rubberbands, and straws that were cut. It was fun and interesting to see the different sounds that it could make by moving the straw pieces either closer or farther apart. Here is a picture of the materials we used to make the instruments. This also incorporates music into the students learning and I think that is pretty neat. We've also been doing group work and working on mini lessons so something involving all students working together is also another idea. 

    I hope these ideas are helpful.

    Madi 

     

    Angelyn Lazo Angelyn Lazo 4195 Points

    Hi! Since I'm about to begin my pre-service next semester, I too also think about how I can keep students engaged in a lesson. First, I definitely think hands-on activities or experiments are a big way to keep the students engaged. I also like using visuals, like videos on youtube that can help the students understand the material, and to be honest what child doesn't like youtube these days! Finally, I believe using the 5E model is a great way to allow kids to engage in a lesson that mainly requires them to do things independently. Make sure that your lessons require that the student is the one making the decisions and has to deeply think about what they are doing! Hope this helps! 

    Stacie Miranda Stacie Miranda 350 Points

    Keeping students motivated and involed I think is the most important key to having an effective classroom. First you can start with visuals in the beginning to get them motivated and wanting to learn more about whatever the lesson is about. Hands on activities are also a big way to keep them motivated because they are always busy.

    Abigail Schiller Abigail Schiller 80 Points

    I believe the best way to keep students engaged and involved is by doing a lesson that connects to them personally! Maybe you can do a lesson about the physics of sports! Making this lesson hands-on can be done easily! Have student play the sport while they are playing the sport, ask them questions that connect the sport to physics. Also, try to use brain-based learning when teaching. Our brains love motion and exercise. I believe the use of visuals will also help students stay engaged. Visuals are also great for the brain! 

    Abigail Schiller

    Pre-Service Teacher at Wartburg 2020

    Bennett Thompson Bennett Thompson 2735 Points

    Andrea,

     

    My current course work discusses this question explicitly. Through my science methods course we discuss student lead inquiry and phenomenon. Phenomenon is an experience that students try to figure out why it happens. One of my favorite from my class was "why a can of coke sinks but a can of diet coke floats?" This experience was student lead and teacher facilitated, as it kept all students engaged and active in discussion. This also helps with student critical thinking skills. Phenomenon is a powerful tool that I have taken away from my methods course and would recommend incorperating it into your lessons. 

    NGSS has many standards that correlate with different phenomenon as well. 

    https://thewonderofscience.com/phenomenal/

    https://www.nextgenscience.org/

    Claire Schroeder Claire Schroeder 170 Points

    Andrea,

    In my courses, we discuss this topic very frequently. Incorporating constructivism into your classroom can help to keep your students focused such as having your students collaborate or discuss topics together. Also, use hands-on activities. Applying what you're talking about in your classroom to other subjects is also a good way to keep your students attention. Make the beginning of your lesson fun and interesting because if you lose your students' focus at the beginning of the lesson, it is almost impossible to regain their focus and interest.

    Claire Schroeder

    Pre-Service Teacher

    Wartburg College

    Claire Schroeder Claire Schroeder 170 Points

    Andrea,

    In my courses, we discuss this topic very frequently. Incorporating constructivism into your classroom can help to keep your students focused such as having your students collaborate or discuss topics together. Also, use hands-on activities. Applying what you're talking about in your classroom to other subjects is also a good way to keep your students attention. Make the beginning of your lesson fun and interesting because if you lose your students' focus at the beginning of the lesson, it is almost impossible to regain their focus and interest.

    Claire Schroeder

    Pre-Service Teacher

    Wartburg College

    Claire Schroeder Claire Schroeder 170 Points

    Andrea,

    In my courses, we discuss this topic very frequently. Incorporating constructivism into your classroom can help to keep your students focused such as having your students collaborate or discuss topics together. Also, use hands-on activities. Applying what you're talking about in your classroom to other subjects is also a good way to keep your students attention. Make the beginning of your lesson fun and interesting because if you lose your students' focus at the beginning of the lesson, it is almost impossible to regain their focus and interest.

    Claire Schroeder

    Pre-Service Teacher

    Wartburg College

    Claire Schroeder Claire Schroeder 170 Points

    Andrea,

    In my courses, we discuss this topic very frequently. Incorporating constructivism into your classroom can help to keep your students focused such as having your students collaborate or discuss topics together. Also, use hands-on activities. Applying what you're talking about in your classroom to other subjects is also a good way to keep your students attention. Make the beginning of your lesson fun and interesting because if you lose your students' focus at the beginning of the lesson, it is almost impossible to regain their focus and interest.

    Claire Schroeder

    Pre-Service Teacher

    Wartburg College

    Claire Schroeder Claire Schroeder 170 Points

    Andrea,

    In my courses, we discuss this topic very frequently. Incorporating constructivism into your classroom can help to keep your students focused such as having your students collaborate or discuss topics together. Also, use hands-on activities. Applying what you're talking about in your classroom to other subjects is also a good way to keep your students attention. Make the beginning of your lesson fun and interesting because if you lose your students' focus at the beginning of the lesson, it is almost impossible to regain their focus and interest.

    Claire Schroeder

    Pre-Service Teacher

    Wartburg College

    Claire Schroeder Claire Schroeder 170 Points

    Andrea,

    In my courses, we discuss this topic very frequently. Incorporating constructivism into your classroom can help to keep your students focused such as having your students collaborate or discuss topics together. Also, use hands-on activities. Applying what you're talking about in your classroom to other subjects is also a good way to keep your students attention. Make the beginning of your lesson fun and interesting because if you lose your students' focus at the beginning of the lesson, it is almost impossible to regain their focus and interest.

    Claire Schroeder

    Pre-Service Teacher

    Wartburg College

    Claire Schroeder Claire Schroeder 170 Points

    Andrea,

    In my courses, we discuss this topic very frequently. Incorporating constructivism into your classroom can help to keep your students focused such as having your students collaborate or discuss topics together. Also, use hands-on activities. Applying what you're talking about in your classroom to other subjects is also a good way to keep your students attention. Make the beginning of your lesson fun and interesting because if you lose your students' focus at the beginning of the lesson, it is almost impossible to regain their focus and interest.

    Claire Schroeder

    Pre-Service Teacher

    Wartburg College

    Claire Schroeder Claire Schroeder 170 Points

    Andrea,

    In my courses, we discuss this topic very frequently. Incorporating constructivism into your classroom can help to keep your students focused such as having your students collaborate or discuss topics together. Also, use hands-on activities. Applying what you're talking about in your classroom to other subjects is also a good way to keep your students attention. Make the beginning of your lesson fun and interesting because if you lose your students' focus at the beginning of the lesson, it is almost impossible to regain their focus and interest.

    Claire Schroeder

    Pre-Service Teacher

    Wartburg College

    Claire Schroeder Claire Schroeder 170 Points

    Andrea,

    In my courses, we discuss this topic very frequently. Incorporating constructivism into your classroom can help to keep your students focused such as having your students collaborate or discuss topics together. Also, use hands-on activities. Applying what you're talking about in your classroom to other subjects is also a good way to keep your students attention. Make the beginning of your lesson fun and interesting because if you lose your students' focus at the beginning of the lesson, it is almost impossible to regain their focus and interest.

    Claire Schroeder

    Pre-Service Teacher

    Wartburg College

    Claire Schroeder Claire Schroeder 170 Points

    Andrea,

    In my courses, we discuss this topic very frequently. Incorporating constructivism into your classroom can help to keep your students focused such as having your students collaborate or discuss topics together. Also, use hands-on activities. Applying what you're talking about in your classroom to other subjects is also a good way to keep your students attention. Make the beginning of your lesson fun and interesting because if you lose your students' focus at the beginning of the lesson, it is almost impossible to regain their focus and interest.

    Claire Schroeder

    Pre-Service Teacher

    Wartburg College

    Samantha Woods Samantha Woods 90 Points

    Andrea,

    Some good ways to keep the students engaged is to have lots of hands- on activities that the students can do. You want them to apply their learning by doing real world activities so that the lesson will stick in their heads more than them just sitting there and listening to you. The more the kids get up and do something the better they learn the material.

    Hope this helps,

    Samantha Woods

    Wartburg College

     

    Paige Faulkner Paige Faulkner 2545 Points

    Engagement in the lesson is crucial for student learning. There are many ways to get students engaged. but sometimes it can be hard to keep students engaged the whole time or for every lesson because some lessons may not be as exciting as others. One way to get students engaged is to first learn what their interests are and what they want to learn about. Students enjoy learning about what they want to learn about and having choice. When students feel like they have a choice about their learning they tend to become more engaged and you also see less misbehavior, which is a plus! Hands-on activities are also good for student engagement. If students are onlt allowed to sit at their desk and listen or take notes they will not be as engaged because many students find that boring and can easily get off task. In science there are so many opportunities for hands-on learning because you can do so many different kinds of experiments. Some hands-on activites could be creating a rocket, a car, a Ruth Goldberg machine, a volcano, a solar system, and so many more. 

    Karina Redondo Karina Redondo 2410 Points

    Andrea, keeping the students engaged in a lesson is important. Not only does this help with classroom management but it also usually means the students are interested in what they are learning. Some ways to keep them engaged is to conduct hands on activities, incorporate virtual dissection labs if the lesson calls for it, educational videos, and group discussions are all great ways to keep students engaged. 

    I hope that helps!

    Brady Schmidt Brady Schmidt 2440 Points

    Claire, this is something that a lot of teachers struggle with.  I think that when doing hands on activities, even if it is student lead, there needs to be a clear and precise direction and plan.  When there is a direct plan and clear objective that the students need to reach, then they will be more focused and narrowed in to what they need to acomplish.  I do think that the students need to also have fun and be able to explore while enjoying the process as well, and it doesn't need to be super serious.  I think that if you start to get a sense of students getting off task then you should remind them of the objective and what they need to be doing.  Hopefully you find your own ways to keep the students engaged and ready to learn!

    Blake Miller Blake Miller 1795 Points

    Hi Andrea,

    I feel like getting students involved starts with finding something that gets them excited. Choosing a phenomena or a problem that is interesting and exciting is a sure way to get students engaged and learning. The lesson does need to be executed well though. This is why I believe the 5E lesson plan is so important. In terms of getting students excited and engaged, I think the first part of 5E, engage, must be done correctly. This sets the tone for the rest of the lesson and can make or break it. 

    Kasey Lahart Kasey Lahart 2460 Points

    Make sure that the activities you are having your students do is the appropriate level of difficulty. If the task is too easy, the students will get bored and get off task. If the task is too difficult the students will get frustrated and give up. Having an activity that is hands on is great, making it something the kids are passionate about is also important. But, if the students aren't challenged to the right degree, they won't be engaged in whatever the activity is.

    Autumn Rose Autumn Rose 810 Points

    I think the best way to encorporate hands on activities is to make sure that all the students ar participating. In classrooms I have pbserved, the best approach was giving each student in the group a specific job to complete during the activity. This will help increase engagement and a sense of community, and allow for all members to participate. 

    George Mehler George Mehler 1340 Points

    Hello fellow science teacher,

     

    I am replying you behalf of Funsciencedemos YouTube Channel that is home to hundreds of free videos for ideas for teachers and students to recreate in the classroom. Science is our passion and we are so excited to share our engaging, kid-teacher-parent friendly, and interactive lessons with you to use in the classroom or at home. Our videos adhere to the common core science standards, encompass a wide variety of science concepts, and are specifically geared toward younger learners. All videos on the FunScienceDemos channel come with an English subtitle that can be translated into almost any language, making science lessons accessible virtually any place in the world.  

     

    We encourage you check it out and spread the word! We post new science videos once a month, please subscribe our channel.

     

    https://www.youtube.com/user/funsciencedemos

     

     

    Sincerely,

     

    The FunScienceDemos Team

    Justice Taylor Justice Taylor 1155 Points

    Science is a subject that not all students enjoy; however, students usually love hands-on activities! These activities get the students involved with learning when they do not even realize that they're learning. 

     

    I have attached a link for 12 hands on Science activities for year-round fun that your students may enjoy! https://sciencekiddo.com/hands-on-science-activities-kids/

    Jenna Murphy Jenna Murphy 410 Points

    As a future educator, I definitely agree that a great way to keep students engaged is through hands-on activites and labs. As science should be hands-on and studied, so should the lesson presented. 

    Roxanne Garza Roxanne Garza 215 Points

    As well as a future educator our main goal is to make sure our students are engaged iin the lessons especially in science since many tend to least favorite it.  ithink one way to make sure the students get engage is to make it interesting and fun and use real life examples from here and on to really make a sense of whats going on not just inside he classroom but also outside the classroom. 

    Stephany Colato Stephany Colato 765 Points

    As a future educator teacher should always exude enthusiasm and engagement   with shier students.  Encourage connections that are meaningful and relevant that way the students have more of an understanding. Plan for short attention spans students, especially younger ones, have a relatively short attention span. Addresses different learning styles and multiple intelligences. Every student has their own way of learning and their own set of strengths and weaknesses. As a teacher we should try our best to include all different type of styles when making activities.

    Cora Gomoll cora gomoll 2210 Points

    Cora Gomoll cora gomoll 2210 Points

    I agree that it is the teacher's responsibility to engage the students in since concepts and connect the appropriate standard to an exciting phenomenon. When making connections to the performance expectations and the phenomenon the teacher should provide the students with the tools they need to complete their tasks and encourage them to make inferences and analysis from what they found. When students are engaging in a science experiment or lesson the student should be thinking critically about the phenomenon and drawing new knowledge from their work to help understand the phenomenon. 

    Elisa Calderon Elisa Calderon 1650 Points

    Hello! One way that I've learned to be a great for keeping students engaged in lessons is to integrate art into as many lessons as possibe. This doesn't just have to be art as in drawing/painting, because there are so many other forms of art. You could use music, drama, dance, etc. I took a college course on integrating arts in the classroom, where I went to an elementary school every week and integrated a different form of art into various types of subjects. I learned that students love to get engaged with these activites WAY more than worksheets. 

    Hailey Traver Hailey Traver 2010 Points

    As a future educator myself, I’ve found that real-world connections help engage students. Real-world connections help students see how they can use what they learn inside of the classroom, outside of the classroom. During one of my field experiences in a fourth grade classroom, I was teaching area and perimeter, so I created word problems about experiences they might have outside of the classroom, such as creating a garden or a sandbox. The students then began to think about other examples of area and perimeter, such as the fencing around their yard.

    Adriana DeMaet Adriana DeMaet 285 Points

    I am also a future educator, so this is a question that I will probably be asking myself a lot in the coming years. I think it really matters that you make the lessons fun for students. The lesson should also be engaging and helpful to all learners. For example visual learners, hands on learner, and so on. Switching things up can be interesting and engaging for students. Or bringing in materials from the outdoors for hands on learning. You could even invite a family members student in to help with the lesson, it would be a super fun way to have students get excited for what they'll learn.

    Andrea Herren Andrea Herren 905 Points

    Hi Andrea,  I think a good way to keep students engaged is by allowing partner work, or implementing stations into your lessons. If students are working together, and there are rules and guidelines students need to follow, it will keep them accountable for their learning and collaborating. 

    Madeline Henderson Madeline Henderson 285 Points

    Keeping students engaged, especially younger students and those who are learning virtually, can be difficult. Hands on activities that can be completed individually will help children be excited to learn. Virtual games and home experiments will keep them engaged. 

    Kayla Cavazos Kayla Cavazos 765 Points

    Wow!! I mean is there anything more left to add?? All of these suggestions are incredible! Some of the things I never would have even thought about. Thank you to everyone for providing such an extensive list of suggestions. Amazing to see how others are using science. 

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